Friday, November 28, 2008


This year I wasn't able to go home for Thanksgiving, but I had a wonderful Thanksgiving right here in Richmond. I rejoiced and gave thanks with a church full of people in support of the lost boys of Sudan and local Sudanese believers, walked through the woods of beautiful fall afternoon, took pictures and laughed with friends, played Settlers of Catan, had a potluck Thanksgiving meal with many young adults who I am thankful to call my friends, and roasted marshmallows on a bonfire in the late hours of the night.

Below you see what happens when you throw a handful of sawdust in the bonfire. Science at work!
It was not a traditional Thanksgiving day, but it was a great day. I was blessed by great friends, the opportunity to pray and rejoice with the local Sudanese community, and conversations by phone with friends and family who I wasn't able to see in person.

This last picture was candid. I really have no idea what I was doing here... =)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What will Sudan be like?

Michael and Karen have posted some pictures in their web album and written about their first two weeks in Sudan on their blog.

It is hard for me to imagine what Sudan will be like since I have never been to Africa, but I am always excited to read their updates and look forward to the day that I will join them with all the other team members.

Also here is a quick update for those who do not get my prayer letters. God has provided 75% of my support! I will be in Richmond through the second week in January, and then I will be very transient until I leave for Sudan. I am so thankful for all your support and prayer!


This month I ran my first race. It was an 8k through downtown Richmond on the same day as the Richmond marathon and half marathon. It was a hot day for November and steamy due to overnight thunderstorms, even at 7 am.

I started running for first time in July. I would not have started running if it weren't for the women in my Bible study. We started running together twice a week, very slow at first with a lot of walking in between the running. As long as they were still running, I would try to keep running. With them by my side it was so much easier to overcome the mental battle in my head and not stop.

It was great running with these women twice a week for months, but on the day of the 8k, it was just me. No one else was there with me. Everyone was running their own race. We had met the night before to eat together and encourage each other, but most of the encouragement I got during the race was from people standing on the side of the road who didn't know me at all. With the finish in mind, I kept moving forward. Finishing the 8k was a great feeling, but there is another race that I am running with eternal significance.

Too often I start to walk in the race I am running for the sake of the gospel. Too often I want to be comfortable and not experience pain. In this race, it is not my own strength that will keep me running (believe me, I have tried). It is only by the strength of my savior that I can keep running. I am running this race by the grace of God and for His glory, and too often I don't strive to finish and win the prize. I say no to the difficult things God is asking me to do, and stop running the race in so many other ways. There is so much richness in the race metaphor!

And so my prayer is that I would run the race with perseverance, not growing weary or losing heart, with my eyes fixed on Jesus as described in Hebrews 12:1-3. I'm glad that running a race has brought me to consider the race metaphors in scripture prayerfully and understand it on a more personal level.

"Thus through him I may lay hold upon him in whom I am also laid hold upon; ... stretching forth not to what shall be and shall pass away but to those things that are before me. Not distractedly now, but intently, I follow on for the prize of my heavenly calling, ..." - Augustine, Confessions (emphasis mine)

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Sunday after church I met up with a friend, and we went on two short hikes through Shenandoah National Park. It was a BEAUTIFUL fall day, and the first hike we did was particularly fun since it had a long rock scramble with a stunning 360 degree vista. The best part of the day was sharing some great conversation in the car on the way there and on the way home. We discussed the sermons we heard earlier in the morning, books we have read, and a variety of other topics. We enjoyed the beauty of the mountains and laughed with each other a lot. Hopefully I will be able to get in one or two more trips before leaving for Sudan. It was great to get away from Richmond for a day and enjoy a hike with a friend. I didn't think about the details of getting to Sudan, raising support, or work. Sunday I just enjoyed God's creation and reflected on the character God who loves me.

Note: In the bottom right picture my friend is making her shadow tickle my shadow. She didn't know she was in the picture. =)